Poster for the short film, Vicky

Irfanimals | V for Vicky

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My first post for AnimApp, an animal rescue and rehab app / organization based in Chennai. This one’s on the short film, Vicky, that’s been getting a lot of wows and bows ever since it went on online air. AnimApp carries the edited piece. Below’s my original one.

This piece on AnimApp

Freedom for animals. An idea that, perhaps understandably, animals seem to grasp, but not humans.

This is at the heart of Vicky, the short film by Kerala-based editor-turned-filmmaker, Manu Antony, that released on YouTube, appropriately enough, on August 15, and has been quietly winning hearts and views ever since.

While you can of course view the short below, here’s a synopsis. Vicky’s a young Golden Retriever in what seems a Kerala village. Vicky is gambolling around, though through the chain coiled around the wooden pillar at the entrance of the house, you get the feeling he is sometimes chained up. Vicky’s human companion calls for him as the film begins, he comes running, gladly receives his morning petting, and then the companion leaves. Vicky assumes this is to get his meal for the day – you see him dreaming of fish bones and chicken leg-pieces and then drooling in anticipation. However, his companion returns with a cage bearing a couple of lovebirds (or a lovebird couple?).

A lovebird in a cageVicky wonders at the presence of the new beings, but is soon happy to go back to his own actions (or inactions), whether scampering or lazing around. Suddenly, he hears a sound and runs in the direction, only to fall into a deep hole. He howls for someone to come rescue him, then not finding anyone doing so, begins getting morose. Fret not. The next scene, he is back home, though just a bit roughed up for the experience. Now, though, he begins looking at the caged birds in a new light. Would they too be feeling as frustrated in the cage as he felt in the hole? What follows will warm and win hearts.

Apart from Vicky and the lovebirds, the film at intervals shows other sentient beings in their habitats, all free, and freely doing their thing – whether ants scurrying across, or dragonflies flitting around. The only restrained being shown is a tethered buffalo, but this country is presently at a sensitive space when it comes to bovine rights, so maybe we’ll discuss that some other time.

Nelson Mandela's famous quote on freedom

The film ends on a couple of sombre notes. The first is a quote by Nelson Mandela: ‘There is no such thing as part freedom.’ We couldn’t agree more. Then, you have graphics of various animals having lost their freedom of various sorts – whether that of habitat (through the razing of forests), of space (through being confined in cages in zoos and circuses), or of lives (through poaching, culling, or as food).

For bringing up all these issues, and in a soft (rather than militant) manner, Vicky tickies all the right boxes.